I value my sleep very much, lack of it and I turn into a monster. It’s not pretty people. This was and still is unfortunately one of my biggest struggles since becoming a mother. How can I function on less, interrupted sleep or better yet, let’s put plans in place to get me that much needed sleep.
I have two amazing boys. With my eldest son, Antonio, whose now 4, I was very strict since he was little and had a strict rule of him being comforted in his own bed and no co-sleeping was ever contemplated. The result…Antonio is an amazing sleeper, who was able to self soothe and get himself off to sleep from a very young age. And as a mum who needs her sleep, I patted myself on the back for the good job I had done! But then came Tiago, son number 2, whose 2 going on 3 and I slacked off the strictness. He will now get into our bed in the middle of the night and put his little chubby arms around my neck, snuggle in close and tell me he loves his mama. My heart melts and I can’t resist and I let him sleep with me. The problem I have created…no boundaries. Meaning Tiago now thinks it’s ok to come into our bed in the middle of the night. He is not a good sleeper and it takes ages to settle him back into his own bed, if I can at all, and as I am so tired by then, I give up and let him sleep with me.
I have come to realise I love the way Tiago and I have bonded and connect. It’s so special but I also realise I am not allowing myself to get my much needed sleep and that is having a negative impact on my life. I wake up tired, I shout at the kids, my head is fuzzy, my immune system is low so I have constant ills and then my diet goes to the crap as I want comfort food to make me feel better.
My plan of action as this can’t continue is to figure out ways to show Tiago he needs to sleep in his own bed, all night. And for us to have our special bond, connection time throughout the day.
Without being too harsh on myself, I do know I have created this issue out of my own needs that do not really serve me and do not serve Tiago and in turn my need to sleep and recharge is being trampled on.
So from tonight, and this might take a few days, so perseverance is paramount, and focusing on the end goal and why I am doing this is my key to success (I hope!).
My plan to get Tiago to sleep all night in his own bed is:
1. Plant the seed. By this I mean, at bedtime let Tiago know that he is sleeping in his own bed tonight, all night. It will probably be met with resistance, but again it’s planting the seed and letting him know what is expected.
2. Let Tiago know that if he sleeps in his own bed all night, he will get a star in the morning. We love our reward chart!
3. If/when Tiago does get up during the night, to put him back in his own bed as many times as necessary and soothe him in his own bed.
My plan to have our connection time is:
1. In the morning, and set a time when you consider it to be morning, mine is 6 am, let Tiago come into our bed and have cuddle time. It’s an amazing way to start the day. Some people meditate, I get cuddles with my boys.
2. Give him the star, if he’s slept in his own bed all night.
3. During the day or when we get home from work/nursery read a book or two or three together, snuggling on the sofa.
I’m going to go off and set this plan in action. Please feel free to use some of my suggestions and put them to use yourself. Take what you need and want from them. These suggestions are what I feel will work for me and my family, I am not suggesting they will work for everyone.
What are you doing that is not really serving you, and what other ways can you have those needs met?
Above all, remember to be gentle with yourselves. We are not perfect and becoming aware of what is not working and then consciously choosing to do something about it, is very powerful.
Do you have a similar story? I would love to hear from you and what worked for you and also what what didn’t work. There is learning in everything we do.
I am also a sleep- demon, Sonia and am well below 100% if I get less than 7-8 hours a night. We had a dreadful time last year with our little one having very disrupted sleep and therefore, we did too as a consequence. It reflected like you in my energy levels, my lack of patience with her during the day, poor immunity… I was nearing an edge when we traveled back to New Zealand to visit family for Christmas. I’m not sure what the trigger was but the habit was broken while we were away, with her (and us) now having full nights sleeps since our return.
There could be a number of contributing factors that helped: jetlag, running around with cousins etc but I do believe the change out of routine helped the most- the habit had no routine to trigger it. Traveling to NZ is perhaps an extreme way to ‘have a change’ but something similar- a weekend at Grandma’s, a holiday with friends, might just be enough to break a bad sleeping habit for others who are experiencing similar sleep issues.
Wishing you the best of luck with your plan! Keep us updated on your and Tiago’s progress x
Hi Kirsten, thank you for sharing your story and what worked for you. I am so glad your little girl is sleeping and so are you! I will keep you posted!!